13-Mar-2011 -- As I was in the San Francisco Bay area for the National Science Teachers Association conference, an event that draws at least 10,000 science teachers from around the country. As our focus at the conference was on geotechnologies, a confluence visit seemed like the perfect capstone. I left the conference site downtown and reached the San Francisco airport before dawn, renting a vehicle there. I then drove back to San Francisco and over the Bay Bridge to Oakland, missing my turn onto I-580 and instead heading north on I-80. No matter, though; it was Sunday morning and the traffic was fairly light. I knew that State Highway 4 must intersect I-80, and sure enough, after about 20 minutes, found the highway as the John Muir Parkway. I drove east as the darkness changed to a dim light, but it was cloudy, which I knew would make for some less-than-ideal photographs. I exited too early, as I could not pull over to look at a map, at Highway 242. Realizing my error, I drove south to the city of Concord.
At Olivera Road, I wound through neighborhoods to the southeast, slowly, because it was still too dark to visit the point. At Willow Pass Road, I turned northeast. Judging from the decommissioning of part of the military base here, and seeing the new streets on the satellite image a week ago, I held a dim hope that I would be able to stand on this confluence point, rather than gaze at it through the fence. However, upon arriving at the scene, I realized that the new streets lay to the northeast of the confluence point. I stopped to the south of the closest approach and hiked a bit, always preferring at least some walk to the confluence points. I had visited here several years before, and not much had changed except the streets to the northeast. They seemed to be streets only with no houses constructed along them. The No Trespassing signs were still here, and I wondered if anyone had tried to call the numbers listed on the sign and actually gain permission to access the ground. If the ground was underlain by unexploded ordinance, though, I was content with gazing through the fence.
I could see the confluence point to my east in the flat field overlain by grasses. I was about 40 meters distant. I also walked to the place in the fence where it jogged a bit, and could now see the point off to my north. It was about 45 degrees F under cloudy skies. The traffic was moderate, even on a Sunday morning, and moved at high speeds. Some care is needed at this point with an awareness of the vehicles passing. Now I had a nice tidy sum of confluences in central California, and had stood on 38 North at least 20 times between here and the eastern shore of North America, in a field in Virginia. I had also stood on 122 West several times, including three times in California and once in 2009 in a forest in Washington state. My joy at reaching the confluence point was tempered by the tragedy that was unfolding from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, in the past 48 hours, however. I spent about 30 minutes at the site, and then departed to see an old dear friend and to attempt the next confluence to the south. I had a nice tour through downtown Concord on the way to I-680. Despite the cars along Willow Pass Road, it was a peaceful morning.